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10 Days Classic Bhutan Himalaya Tour

10 Days Classic Bhutan Himalaya Tour

(BT009) Paro - Thimphu - Punakha & Wangdue - Trongsa - Bumthang - Punakha & Wangdue - Thimphu - Paro

Overview

Due to the varying weather patterns and the differences of topographies in both sides of Himalaya Range, the grandeur Himalaya Mountains in Tibet and Bhutan share only a few similarities. If you have to ascend to a higher elevation to enjoy the solemn Himalaya peaks in Tibet, then in Bhutan, it is possible for you to have a solemn feel towards the permanently snow-capped Himalayas pinnacles in low altitude but gorgeous valleys.

The 10-day Classic Bhutan Himalaya Tour takes you to the western and central regions of Bhutan where you can enjoy a clear views of the undulating Himalaya Mountain peaks ranking from 5000 m to 7000 m neighboring to the Mount Everest. Meanwhile, Bhutan’s location in eastern Himalayas indulges a full growth in its forests ranging from the tropical hardwoods to predominantly oak and pine trees. The exploration of the forests and valleys is another highlight for this tour.

Moreover, when you return to Paro from the central part, one day is arranged for you to enjoy the world famous Taktsang Ghoempa (The Tiger’s Nest Monastery) clinging to the abrupt slope after the route has ascended you to the altitude of 3,750 meters. Feel the steepness of the Monastery and enjoy the views.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Paro (2,200 m)

After your arrival at Paro by royal Bhutan airline, your tour guide is waiting for you and ready to drive you from Paro airport to your hotel in Paro. After check in the hotel, you will visit the following sites for refreshment:

Paro Rinpung Dzong (Fortress)
Paro Rinpung Dzong is a fortress built in 1645 to defend against the Tibet invaders. The Dzong now is serving as an administrative center and school for monks and the traditional Cantilever Bridge, the oldest Bhutan Bridge is just under it.

Farm House in Paro Valley
Seeing and experiencing the life of Bhutan farmers.

Drukgyel Dzong
Drive up to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, the glorious fortress and Buddhist monastery built in 1649 to commemorate the victory over an allied invasion by Tibet-monolian forces.

Dinner and overnight at hotel in Paro

Day 2: Paro (2,200 m) - Punakha (1,242 m) and Wangdue

Distance: 125 km
Driving Time: 3.5 hours

After the breakfast in early morning, your tour guide is waiting for you and ready to drive you from Paro to Punakha and Wangdue. The route will first take you to Chunzom, the confluence of Pachu and Wangchu Rivers. Both of the two rivers are the cradle of Bhutan’s civilizations and flow through Paro and Thimphu valley respectively.

Then pay a visit to Tachog Lhakhang (Tachong Temple). The 14th-century temple is just located on the base of the mountain across the Pachu on Paro – Thimphu highway. Built by the great master level architect Thangtong Gyalpo, the temple houses some of the unique and precious statues. To get the temple, you may actually experience a thrill but nice walk over the iron chains that span over the Pa Chu River.

After crossing Chunzom, the drive will take you along the Wangchu River up to Simtokha and finally arrive at Punakha after crossing the Dochula Pass (3,140 m). Enjoy the draw-dropping panoramic view of the majestic Himalaya Range from Dochula Pass and overlook the gorgeous flower-clustered valley below.

The bus will make a temporary stop at the amazing 108 chortens built by Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (The Queen mother of Bhutan) for the safety and wellbeing of His Majesty (The king of Bhutan).

After the lunch served at the Dochula Pass, the bus will drive you onto Punakha, a place regarded as one of the most beautiful and significant regions in Bhutan culture and had once been the capital of Bhutan from 1637 to 1955 during which the 1st National Assembly was held there.

The bus also takes you to Metsina Village and makes a temporary stop to have the Devine Madman’s Monastery - Chhimi Lhakhang being sighted. The monastery has always been regarded as the fertility shrine by locals for a long time and you can receive an efficacious fertility blessing there.

Then visit the Punakha Dzong on the island of Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River) and appreciate the highest state of the wood crafts.

Never miss the stunning evening views of Punakha and Wangdue valley after you have visited the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendup Lhakhang Nunnery in the evening.

Dinner and overnight at hotel in Punakha

Day 3: Punakha (1,242 m) and Wangdue - Trongsa - Bumthang

Distance: 197 km
Travel Time: 7 hrs

Set out in early morning after breakfast and travel to Bumthang through Trongsa. The drive takes you through the oak and pine trees deep into the dense forest and pass the Nobding Village. Get a fantastic panoramic view from the Pele La Pass (3,300 m).

Along the route, distant view of local settlements scattering far from the road gives you fresh and deep impression on Bhutan’s rural life. Meanwhile, the open green meadows with yaks and rhododendron ridden valley are worth ceasing your moving steps to enjoy in Chendebji Chorten (Stupa).

On arrival at Trongsa after lunch, you will take a temporary stop and visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest dzong fortress in Bhutan and built on a spur overlooking the gorge of the Mangde River.

Then you continue your travel to Bumthang by passing through Yotong La Pass (3,400 m). The route during this section takes you to the Yathra Waving Center at Zugney village where you can witness the locals waving Yathra, a name that refers to the colorful and woolen cloth with geometric design in Bhutanese. Then the bus takes you further to Bumthang Valley.

Check in the hotel and get ready for dinner

Stay overnight at hotel in Bumthang

Day 4: Bumthang Sightseeing

Set out in an early morning after breakfast and visiting the following sites: Tamshing Lhakhang, also known as the temple of Good message, is famous for its collections of printings which exemplify the region’s style. It is also well known for being one of the few institutions continuing the teachings of Pema Lingpa.

Then after the suspension bridge, you meet the “Body Imprint Temple” Kurjey Lhakhang. Not far from Kurjey Lhakhang sits the Jambay Lhakhang, a temple built by the King Songtsen Goempo of Tibet in the 7th century. With his effort in the propagation of Buddhism, the Tibet king had an ambitious plan to build a total of 108 temples in Tibet and Bhutan.

Continue your Bumthang tour and arrive at Jakar Dzong after about 10 minutes’ drive. With a circumference of more than 1,500 meters, the majestic Jakar Dzong is definitely a wonderful piece of architectural art in Bhutan. The name Jakar is derived from the word “Bjakhab”, meaning “The white bird”.

According to Jakar’s foundation myth, a bird signals the proper and auspicious location to found a monastery. Now, the fortress is served as an administrative center of the valley as well as the summer residence of Trongsa monks.

After lunch, visit the Dorjibi Waving Center which is located half an hour’s drive from Bumthang town. In Dorjibi, you may have an intense feeling of Bhutan’s environmental awareness by witnessing the utmost use of available raw materials rather the natural resources.

Experience the primitive life of Bhutan locals and enjoy the traditional dinner at one of their houses in Bumthang valley. Feel free to mingle with them.

Stay overnight at hotel in Bumthang valley

Day 5: Bumthang - Wangdue via Phobjikha Valley

Distance: 197 km
Driving Time: 6 hrs

Travel to Wangdue/Punakha by passing through the Phobjikha valley. The bus will first make a temporary stop at Gangtey Monastery, a can’t-miss monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, after a dense forest. Then drive towards the Phobjikha valley which is one part of the beautiful Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park.

During the winter, a large flock of black-necked cranes, the endangered species, gather there to escape from the chilly weather. Besides, the forest covered mountains around the valley have been widely accepted as the most remote areas where only the rarely seen nomadic shepherds and yak herders can find the trails.

After lunch you have plenty of time exploring the Phobjikha valley and visiting the Black Necked Crane Center. Then continue your travel to Wangdue Phodrang, the capital of Wangdue Phodrang District.

Dinner will be served at the hotel in Wangdue/Punakha Region.

Stay overnight at the hotel in Wangdue/Punakha Region

Day 6: Punakha (1,242 m) and Wangdue - Thimphu

Distance: 71 km
Driving Time: 2.5 hours

Leave off Punakha in early morning after the breakfast and head straight forward for Thimphu with 2 and a half hours. Check in the hotel and go sightseeing the flowing sites:

1) Traditional Arts and Crafts Painting School
Visiting the painting school where students receive a six-year course on the 13 different traditional arts and crafts.

2) National Textile Museum
It is an amazing museum that keeps the traditional art of waving preserved and exhibits a good collection of ancient colored textile in a various forms. You can find how the exquisite exhibits are waved by locals giving a spot operation with intricate tools.

3) Bhutan Postal Museum
Bhutan Postal Museum presents all the periodical achievements and evolutions that Bhutan has made in communication and postal system. Moreover, you can get the postage stamps with your own photos printed on them before pasting them on the postcards and send to your families and friends.

4) Centenary Farmer’s Market (Open from Thu. to Sun.)
Held by the side of Wangchu River, the market bustling with commerce is a trade center for city residents and valley dwellers to do their businesses. A wide range of foodstuffs and local arts and crafts can be found on the market. It begins from Fri. afternoon till Sun. evening. Try bargaining with the locals and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

5) Takin Preserve
Visit the Takin Preserve and get a closer look at the housed national animal Takin that is only find in Bhutan. These endangered species are found in herds at a very high altitude of approximately 4,000 m and can be weigh as much as 550 pounds.

6) National Memorial Chorten (Stupa)
National Memorial Chortan was constructed in memorial of the third King of Bhutan, King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, in 1974. The King was generally regarded as the father of modern Bhutan and widely esteemed by the Bhutanese. “Chorten” in Bhutan literally refers to the “seat of faith” and Buddhists often call such monuments the “Mind of Buddha”.

7) Kuenselphodrang (Known as Buddha Point)
The iconic site in Bhutan where the country’s largest Buddha statue is perched. From the hill, you can overlook the Thimphu valley and the stunning distant view of mountain peaks.

8) Tashichhoe Dzong
A once glorious religious fortress built in 1641 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and was reconstructed into present structure by the late king and the central monk body.

9) Craft Bazaar
A unique shopping site to get an in-depth knowledge of Bhutan cultures and buy the handcrafts with Bhutan characteristics that you are interested in. At this Bazaar, crafts man and artists from the country display and sell their handicrafts in some handicrafts store you can choose to visit.

Evening walk around the Thimphu town and local handicraft shops visit

Stay overnight at hotel in Thimphu

Day 7: Thimphu sightseeing; short hike to Tango Monastery

Start off early in the morning after breakfast and visit the following sites:

Traditional Bhutanese Paper Making Factory
Originating from the old tradition in the 8th century, Bhutan papermaking has been well preserved and listed as the valuable national heritage of Bhutanese culture.

National Institute of Traditional Medicine
See the productive process of Bhutan’s traditional medicine, herbs mostly, and watch the medical practitioner training.

School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts
Visiting the painting school where students receive a six-year course on the 13 different traditional arts and crafts.

After the well-served lunch, the bus will take you to the base camp of Tango Monastery which lies north of the Thimphu city. Starting from the base camp you follow the route in dense oak and pine tree dominated forest to the monastery, along which the red rhododendron flowers are in their full blossom and the fresh air drives away all the tiredness you suffer.

As the religious site, Tango Monastery is eminent for its home of the highly revered Buddhist monks who once brought the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism to Bhutan. Tango Monastery is well located so you can enjoy a spectacular views from it, peace and serenity mostly.

After you have visited the monastery, you start the return trip back to Thimphu.

Stay overnight at the hotel in Thimphu

Day 8: Thimphu - Haa valley - Paro

Thimphu - Haa valley
Distance: 108 km
Travel Time: 3 hrs

Haa valley - Paro
Distance: 65 km
Travel Time: 1.5 hrs

After breakfast, the bus will drive you to the Haa valley, a steep north-south valley with a narrow floor in Haa District. Along the route, distinguished Bhutanese farmhouses can be sighted and you will be treated with local wines and butter teas with kinds of Bhutanese snacks. Then continue your journey to Haa valley and before heading either to Lhakhang Karpo (The white temple) or Lhakhang Nagpo (The black temple) or both depending on the time and your interests.

The name Haa, as well as the more ancient name Has, connotes esoteric hiddenness, so the valley is prominent by an alternative name of Hidden-Land Rice Valley. Some locals also give it another name as the Valley of Guardian Spirit.

Along the mountainside road winding up to the Chele La Pass (3822 m), spectacular Bhutan Himalayas can be sighted all the way. Then you will finally arrive at Paro after passing a few of wild farmlands and scattered hamlets.

Stay overnight at hotel in Paro

Day 9: One Day Hike to Taktsang Ghoempa (Tiger’s Nest Monastery)

After breakfast, hike up to Taktsang Ghoempa (known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery).

Climb up to the viewpoint (1.5 hrs) to enjoy the stunning view of the monastery clinging to the side of the sheer vertical cliff.

After a temporary refreshment stop at the view point (3,140 m), you continue to ascend higher to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery (1 hr) and get a closer look of this miraculous monastery. Take an overlook to find amazing sceneries underneath.

The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former glory.

After seeing the Monastery, you begin your return downward trip and drive back to Paro. On the way back, pay a special visit to Kyichu Temple, one of the beautiful 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo in the 7th century.

Visit a farm house in Paro valley and experience the lifestyle of a farmer in Bhutan. Try a traditional Bhutan hot stone bathing and have dinner in Paro

Stay overnight at hotel in Paro

Day 10: Paro Departure

Today, our tour guide will transfer you to Paro International Airport for your next destination. Tour service end.

Service Guide

Service Included:

  • A minimum of 3 star accommodation (4 & 5 star may require an premium payment);
  • All meals specified in the itinerary;
  • Airport transfer, private transport for sightseeing in Bhutan;
  • Experienced driver;
  • An English-speaking and licensed Bhutanese tour guide for the extent of your stay;
  • Entry fee and road permits;
  • Government fee, royalty, taxes;
  • Bottled mineral water throughout the journey.

Service Excluded:

  • Bhutan Visa Fee;
  • International flight to and out of Bhutan;
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, postage, and laundry, etc.;
  • Travel insurance in Bhutan;
  • Emergency evacuation;
  • Tips and gratuities;
  • Costs arising from unforeseen events;
  • Extra activities like cultural show, kayaking, etc.

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